Interview with Abigail Roux by Mary (kilchurn)
Abigail Roux is a gay fiction author with Dreamspinner Press and Riptide Publishing. She has nine novels and four ebooks available. Her tenth novel, Armed and Dangerous (Cut & Run, Book 5) will be released tomorrow, May 18th. She was born and raised in North Carolina. A past volleyball star who specializes in pratfalls and sarcasm, she currently spends her time coaching middle school volleyball and softball and dreading the day when her little girl hits that age. Abigail has a baby girl she calls Boomer, four rescued cats, one dog, a crazyass extended family, and a cast of thousands in her head.
Special thanks to our members, Issa S. (Issa-345), Denise L. (fangrrl) and Kim M. (RomanceLuvr) for their interview questions.
How has it been writing books without Madeline?
It’s been an easier transition than I would have imagined. I knew I could write a solo book because I had done it before plenty of times, and I’ve found that all the tasks that are difficult with a co-writer – deciding on plot points, naming a character, finding the right time of the day to write – are much easier when it’s just me making the decisions. The biggest difference so far has been the time it takes to produce a fully formed novel; where before it would take nearly a year for us together, I’m now able to finish a project in about 2 months.
You set up playlists for all of your books. How do you come up with the lists?
I like music, and I love the way music can make you feel at certain times of your life. I also like to listen to music when I write because it works as a dampener for my brain, it cuts off all the daily distraction and lets me focus on the story. So at first I would put together playlists for myself to write to, full of songs that either helped with the mood of a story or reminded me of a certain scene or feeling or character. When the book was done and published, I would look at this playlist and think, ‘What do I do with it now?’ We decided that readers might like them too, and I finally realized that it was another way to torture readers who are impatiently waiting for the next releases!
What books are in your “To Be Read” pile?
I always cringe when I admit this to readers, but I have a very small TBR pile. I know the advice to most writers is to be a voracious reader, but let’s be real here. I’m a single mother with a 3-year old who appears to be smarter than I am, so my free time is pretty rare. When I do get a few hours, I’m usually plotting, writing, or trying to watch a ballgame. But when I do find that I can sit and enjoy a book, I go for the summer blockbuster types, anything that combines action with history, knowledge with gunfire, I love it! Steve Berry, James Rollins, Preston and Child. I love Elizabeth Peters and could read her Amelia Peabody series a thousand times over.
What would be the name of your unauthorized biography?
Drugged & Amused. I’ve been injured and hurt so often since I was 14 years old, I feel like I’ve spent my entire life on painkillers or recovering from an injury.
Aside from the Cut and Run series, what other new projects do you have on the horizon?
I’ve got a number of projects that are in various stages of disaster. I’ve got a ghost story that comes out in October. As for stuff that hasn’t been submitted, I have a baseball story that I’m still tweaking, a treasure hunt that needs some more research, a detective story that needs a crime, and a few others that are basically just a scene or an idea in my Cryogenic Suspension folder.
With the upcoming release of Armed and Dangerous, your readers have some questions specific to Ty and Zane.
Ty has always been your character. Do you feel you know Zane well enough to make him your own as well?
I had my doubts when I first started working Armed & Dangerous alone, but it only took a few days for me to get into the character and feel comfortable with him. Readers might detect subtle changes, but they’re supposed to. The characters are growing and changing, and I think I’ve got a handle on them both.
You’ve said there are at least 9 books planned. Has the whole series been mapped out in your head all along or have the characters taken you in some different directions.
The bare bones of the series have been mapped out in my head for a while. With each book subtle things change, both to the plot of that book and to the series, but in the end I’ll get us to the same place. Mostly.
What do you enjoy most about writing this series?
I love these characters. I enjoy everything about it, from the creation of the stories to the fan reactions to the momentary panic when I can’t get my laptop to turn on. But in the end, my favorite thing about it is the characters themselves. I see a lot of myself in Ty and Zane, and I think readers do as well. They’re real and relatable, but still over-the-top action heroes that most people will never be. The dichotomy is what makes them so much fun.
What are the challenges in writing this series?
I don’t think it comes with any unusual challenges. Keeping the characters consistent, making sure the quality of the storytelling and the writing stays high, walking a tightrope between tension and romance, making sure the plots stay relevant and provide an interesting backdrop for the romance aspect of the story. I like to think I do all of the above for everything I write. The massive following Ty and Zane have accumulated can get a little overwhelming at times, and in the past few months I’ve seen a lot of people questioning whether I can handle the series solo. I hope I can answer that question May 18th when Armed & Dangerous releases, but the doubt in people’s minds has weighed on me at times.
Some of Ty and Zane’s fans have written fanfic and some of them have even set them up on tumblr! How do you feel about this? Do you read or follow any of it?
I think it’s kind of awesome! People love the characters, and fanfiction is a way to stay close to a character or story you love. I’m flattered and I hope RPers and fanficcers are having fun.
I try to handle it with grace and understanding (read that as silence), but sometimes I just have to shut the laptop and step away. I’ve seen a lot of criticism about the characters’ actions, especially in Divide & Conquer. The characters do what I tell them. Once I put that character in ink, it’s out of my hands how a reader interprets him or her, and I don’t really mind if readers love or hate a character. The one time it got nasty for me was when I was accused of introducing a character as a lazy plot device. I take pride in the way I weave a story, so when someone with no knowledge of my overall plan tells me that Character A served no purpose, it’s insulting, to say the least.
Without giving anything away, can you give us some generalities of where you are going to take Ty and Zane in this series? We assume there are still relationship issues to work through.
I’m going to take them to Hell and back! Mwuahahahaha! No, really. I hope to take them to a place where both men are fulfilled, and that readers will love seeing.
If Ty and Zane each had their own “song”? What would it be?
This is a harder question to answer than I thought it would be. I see songs in two ways: the lyrics speaking a message to you, and then the overall feeling of the song. So since the lyrics change as the stories do, I’ll go with the songs that FEEL like Ty and Zane. Ty: Rockin’ Pneumonia & the Boogie Woogie Flu by Johnny Rivers. It’s a loose, happy song that makes your feet bounce and the world feel like a party, and I think of Ty every time it comes up on my iPod. Zane: Like Red on a Rose by Alan Jackson. It’s smooth and calm with an edge of dark sadness, but it’s still beautiful and sexy.
The covers for the Cut and Run Series were the inspiration for this interview. I was standing in the elevator at the hospital heading for a mammogram, when a lady in the elevator saw carrying “Fish and Chips.” She asked me if I was reading a cookbook. I was extremely thankful for the life preserver on the cover. That being said, the covers for this series are very non-typical for the genre. How did you decide on them versus a cover with people on it?
Ever since I first got published, I’ve requested of my publishers that I don’t want naked manchest, and I don’t want faces on my covers. The former is for obvious reasons, and the latter is because I want the readers to form their own picture of the characters, not what me or a cover artist imagine. I don’t like people on my covers. When we were looking for an idea for the Cut & Run title, we came across a lot of different images. When I saw the knife, I fell in love with the idea. Simple. Elegant. Easily turned into a series if we wished to write more. And it was most certainly different from anything else being done at that time, or even still being done. I fought for that style of cover and for that knife. My co-author hated it and nixed it right away. But the cover artist loved it for the same reasons I did, and after months of trying to convince everyone that sometimes less is more when you’re trying to grab attention on a bookshelf, the books got the covers they now have. I still stand by my style of covers, both for this series, and for most of my solo works. I think they’re striking, and I think just because it’s fiction, M/M, or erotica, doesn’t mean it can’t have a beautiful, nude-free cover.
I’ve been wondering about Zane’s family and if we’ll read more about them? Ty’s family has been seen, and given readers insight into Ty’s personality development. But other than the deceased wife and a couple passing comments, we do not have much info on Zane.
When I took over the series, I also took over Zane, his back story, and his development. Readers will get to meet his family and see where he comes from, and yes it will take an entire book to do it!
Is T-Shirt hell giving you a cut for pitching their products? Are you still getting Ty’s T-shirt sayings from there?
I don’t get all of the T-shirts from there, but I have gotten some ideas in the past. I’m an affiliate, and can link to them with their permission. I try to make sure that the shirts Ty wears are real shirts that readers can find and buy, but sometimes I just make them up.
Several readers have commented on Ty’s resemblance to Dean Winchester. What do you think of that and are you incorporating some of Dean into writing Ty?
After I had my daughter, I spent many nights sitting up with her, holding her as she slept and nursing, and I ran through all the DVD series I owned and had never watched. Supernatural was one of those, and I fell in love with the show. But I remember sitting and watching and thanking my lucky stars that I had formed Ty’s character and already had two of the books published before I ever saw an episode of Supernatural. Dean and Ty were so very similar that it was uncanny. I love Dean Winchester, he’s obviously the type of character that I identify with and admire. But I’m glad that I can say with all honesty that Ty was not modeled on him. Sometimes I do see Jensen Ackles/Dean when I’m writing Ty, it’s the attitude that does it, and there might be some unconscious incorporating. I try to keep Ty his own man, though, and simply admire Dean from my couch.
I just finished reading Caught Running and the setting is one very familiar to me as a graduated from a High School in that county. How is it you are so knowledgeable of that area?
Honestly, Caught Running was meant to be everyone’s high school. We tried to keep the details to a minimum, to give the town and school a name but nothing that your own memory of your own high school couldn’t overcome. We wanted the reader to identify with the setting as well as the men. I picked the high school because I’m an Atlanta Braves fan, and I knew it was a nice big school where athletes would have been scouted hard (and because the school colors, orange and blue, were my school colors too!)
And now for the silly stuff:
Onion Rings or French Fries? Onion rings. I love onion breath.
Coke or Pepsi? Pepsi, but only insofar as that’s the closest one to Dr Pepper.
M&Ms or Reese’s Pieces? Reese’s Pieces. Not a fan of chocolate at all.
Anchovies or No Anchovies? None, please. I don’t like the way they look at me.
Bugs Bunny or the Flintstones? Bugs Bunny, but only by a hare.
Early Bird or Night Owl? Most definitely a night owl. I like it when the world calms.
Steak or Chicken? Steak.
Red Wine or White Wine? I don’t like to judge my alcohol on color. I like my drinks fruity!
Folgers or Maxwell House ? Neither. Just the smell of coffee makes me want to yark.
Beach or the Mountains? Beach, usually. But sometimes the mountains call my name.
Ms. Roux has generously offered a copy of her new book Armed and Dangerous to a member who comments on this Blog. A Winner will be chosen at Random. Good Luck!.